Calif. Health Dept. Fines Hospitals Over Safety Concerns

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    The California Department of Public Health on Thursday issued 10 penalties to California hospitals, along with fines totaling $675,000, after investigations found the facilities’ noncompliance with licensing requirements caused, or was likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients.

    In one case, St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton was fined $100,000 for removing the wrong kidney from a patient.

    In San Diego, a surgeon cutting a man's wrong testicle resulted in the state Department of Public Health issuing a $75,000 fine to Sharp Healthcare on Thursday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

    The hospitals can appeal the penalties.

    Calls to each of the hospitals were not immediately returned, but two in the Bay Area did respond. Neither the state nor the hospital detailed what exactly happened in each case.
     

    • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Oakland, Alameda County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures for the safe administration of parenteral nutrition. The penalty is $50,000. This is the hospital’s second administrative penalty. In a statement, Alta Bates acknowledged that it was penalized for an "isolated" incident in September 2011, which it self reported to the state. Without disclosing too many more details, Dr. Steve O'Brien stated: “This was a tragic accident. The lives of a family and a nurse have been forever changed. Our hospital immediately initiated an exhaustive investigation and review process into this event and aggressively instituted necessary steps to prevent a similar occurrence. We did not wait for an anticipated state visit, but promptly reviewed and revised our current protocols and procedures.”
    • Marin General Hospital, Greenbrae, Marin County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures relating to respiratory care. The penalty is $100,000. This is the hospital’s fourth administrative penalty. In a statement, the hospital responded that this took place in June 2011 and that "we deeply regret the incident and are committed to improving patient safety. This was a tragic event and we have since re-engineered our processes and put more checks and balances in place to ensure that accidents of this kind never happen again."
    • Barlow Respiratory Hospital, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures related to telemetry monitoring. The penalty is $50,000. This is the hospital’s first administrative penalty.
    •  Desert Valley Hospital, Victorville, San Bernardino County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures related to cardiac catheterization. The penalty is $50,000. This is the hospital’s first administrative penalty.
    • Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures related to patient safety. The penalty is $50,000. This is the hospital’s second administrative penalty.
    • Memorial Medical Center, Modesto, Stanislaus County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures related to patient care. The penalty is $100,000. This is the hospital’s third administrative penalty.
    • Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow surgical policies and procedures. This resulted in a patient having to undergo a second surgery to remove a retained foreign object. The penalty is $50,000. This is the hospital’s first administrative penalty.
    • Sharp Memorial Hospital, San Diego, San Diego County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow surgical policies and procedures. The penalty is $75,000. This is the hospital’s third administrative penalty.
    • St. Jude Medical Center, Fullerton, Orange County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow surgical policies and procedures. The penalty is $100,000. This is the hospital’s fifth administrative penalty.
    • University of California Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, Sacramento County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of patients when it did not follow established policies and procedures related to patient care. The penalty is $50,000. This is the hospital’s first administrative penalty.
       

    At least in the case of Alta Bates, O'Brien said:  “We welcome regulatory reviews and surveys. They assist us in maintaining our constant vigilance to improve patient care."


    For more information, click on www.cdph.ca.gov
               

    NBC Bay Area's Lisa Fernandez contributed to this report.